(Belga) Morocco and China on Wednesday signed an agreement which seals their partnership in the ambitious Chinese strategic project of the “New Silk Roads”.
The convention, a roadmap for the joint implementation of the Chinese initiative, was initialed by Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita and a senior Chinese official, Ning Jizhe, during a ceremony organized by videoconference. Its objective is to promote access to Chinese financing to carry out large projects in Morocco and to facilitate trade, the creation of joint ventures in the industrial and energy sectors, research and technological cooperation, specified the Moroccan agency MAP. Under the terms of this agreement, Beijing undertakes to encourage Chinese companies to invest in Morocco. The convention also provides for tripartite cooperation with Africa, in particular in sustainable development. Launched in 2013, this “New Silk Roads” project aims to improve trade links between Asia, Europe, Africa and even beyond by building ports, railways, airports. or industrial parks. Morocco was the first Maghreb country to join this project in November 2017. According to Mr. Bourita, bilateral trade has grown by 50% over the past five years, from $ 4 billion (EUR 3.5 billion) in 2016 to USD 6 billion in 2021. More than 80 Chinese investment projects are developing in Morocco, he said. China’s direct investment has reached $ 380 million, Ning Jizhe said. This alliance with China, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, is not without diplomatic impact, at a time when Rabat is firing on all cylinders to convince its partners to rally to its positions on the disputed territory of the Sahara. western. Moroccan justice also gave its approval at the end of December to the extradition of a Chinese national member of the Muslim Uyghur minority, Yidiresi Aishan, arrested in July on his arrival in Morocco and wanted by China for “terrorist acts”. . This decision has not yet been implemented, according to his lawyer, while many human rights defenders in Morocco and abroad are opposed to it. (Belga)